Cotler & Wolpe

Irwin Cotler to speak about Iran at 2010 Federation Men’s and Women’s events


What: 2010 JFGD Men’s and Women’s events
When: Men’s Event: Sunday, Jan. 31. Reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and speaker at 7:15.
Women’s Event: Monday, Feb. 1. Registration begins at 11 a.m., program at 11:30.
Where: Westin Galleria, 13340 Dallas Pkwy., Dallas
Cost: Men’s Event: $54; Women’s Event: $48. Both require a minimum contribution of $365 to the annual campaign.

By Rachel Gross
Canadian Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler will speak about Iran and the delegitimization of Israel at the Men’s and Women’s events, Sunday, Jan. 31 and Monday, Feb. 1. Hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, these are the two biggest fundraising events of the year and the focal points of its annual campaign.
The Men’s Event will take place at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31, and the Women’s at 11 a.m. on Feb. 1, both at the Westin Galleria, 13340 Dallas Pkwy. Kosher meals will be provided.
A member of the Canadian Parliament since 1999, former minister of justice and Canadian attorney general, he will address the concern Iran poses to the world and what Americans and Canadians can do to help prevent it.
Cotler said people need to have a better understanding of what goes on in the Middle East and hopes the audience will come away with the urge to take action. He emphasized that many countries look at Israel unfavorably.
“Ahmadinejad’s Iran is emerging as a clear and present danger to Middle Eastern stability and Israeli Jewry,” he said. “What we are witnessing today is the toxic construction of nuclear war, genocide, state support for international terrorism and massive repression … we are also witnessing a flowing international delegitimization of Israel under the cover of law and human rights. It is increasingly being portrayed as the enemy of all that’s good. I will seek to analyze it and set forth some recommendations for combating it.”
Cotler has been at the forefront of the struggle for peace and human rights for many years. His other roles include law professor and scholar, international human rights lawyer and community leader.
“An Israeli society that doesn’t have to face daily threats of terrorism can do what it does best — make contributions to science and medicine. That can be enhanced if they live in peace and security with their neighbors,” he said. “The core problem is the unwillingness of many in the Arab and Islamic world to accept the Jewish state. I speak from my own visits with leaders in the Islamic world and that’s the root cause of the conflict.”
JFGD Campaign Director Debbie Estrin said the goal of the 2010 campaign is to raise $11 million. She said the Men’s and Women’s events are community builders that people look forward to each year.
Estrin added that the money raised will benefit 14 local schools and partner agencies, three overseas partners and 12 national partners.
“This gives members of the community a way to rally around the annual campaign and a great networking and social opportunity,” she said. “People enjoy seeing old and new friends and it’s really a fantastic time when the men and women come together.”
The Women’s Event began 18 years ago and raised over $550,000 last year. Co-chair Sandra Veeder said it brings together women from all different facets of the community.
“It’s really exciting to get that many committed and dedicated Jewish women in a room at one time,” she said. “I am proud that we are bringing in another timely and serious speaker who is serious and thought-provoking. Gathering for a good cause is great, but when you can educate and motivate people at the same time, we’ve really accomplished something important.”
The Men’s Event is embarking on its 16th year; the JFGD hopes to surpass the $1.3 million that the event raised last year.
Event Chair Craig Rosenfeld said this enables men who may only see each other once a year to join together for a good cause.
“It’s a social and a Jewish male bonding event,” he said. “It is not going to be a business meeting, but a more casual event. We want to take care of the bonding and raising money together. There aren’t very many places that bring the entire Jewish community together, but the Federation does. It brings together the entire community together to do good.”
For more information, call Debbie Estrin at 214-615-5226 or visit

Third annual LearningFest begins Jan. 30 at Aaron Family JCC

By Rachel Gross
“Learn Jewish, Think Jewish, Do Jewish.”
This is the motto of the Center for Jewish Education and something it continually strives to promote. Jews from across the Metroplex will have the opportunity to learn, think and do Jewish during the third annual LearningFest from Jan. 30 to Feb. 7.
The theme for LearningFest is “From Kugel to Google: 21st Century Judaism.” Sponsored by the Center for Jewish Education (CJE) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, it showcases more than 50 sessions led by rabbis, educators and community leaders. Most will take place at the Aaron Family JCC, and $18 provides admission to all events.
Author and rabbi, David Wolpe of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles, will give the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3. Wolpe will discuss his new book “Why Faith Matters,” and how faith plays a role in the way people function Jewishly in the 21st century.
“Faith mixes together all of the parts of life and what you do matters in the world; people seek and need that. It’s a powerful motivator for goodness,” Wolpe said. “I want to spread the message of the power of Jewish tradition to old and young and how it makes your life better, but also how it gives a powerful, close connection to others. I hope people will discover that Judaism acts as a platform to stand upon and as a motivator … life brings joy and sorrow, and faith gives you mechanisms to deal with that.”
LearningFest began in 2008 and attracted 500 people. Some 850 attended last year and the goal is to draw 1,000 this year, according to CJE Assistant Director Melissa Bernstein. The sessions will focus on how Judaism has evolved over time, why it matters and how it works today.
The kickoff event, “From Ana­tevka to Dallas: A Sing-Along with ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’” presented by 3 Stars Cinema, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at the JCC. Participants will have the chance to sing along with the 1971 version of the Oscar-winning film.
Other sessions include “Unplugged and Tuned in to Torah: A Jewish Perspective on the Internet and Social Networking,” led by Rabbi Wendy Pein of Congregation Adat Chaverim; “Seder Shabbat or Homemade Judaism: Quality Time at the Weekly Shabbat Table,” led by Noam Zion, visiting scholar-in-residence at Congregation Shearith Israel; and “The Soul — The Journey Through Life, Death and Beyond,” led by Rabbi Menachem Block of Chabad of Plano.
Stuart Prescott, co-chair of LearningFest with his wife, Myra, said it gives Jews a taste of Jewish education and allows them to see what different types of learning are available.
“What excites me is that people come to learn and we see so many new faces,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you are Orthodox, Reform or in between, Judaism applies to everyone, and that’s what our rabbis and teachers are going to teach. This is why Jewish education is so important. People think it stops with the kids, but adults in Dallas are proving how great it is to learn because you want to … Jewish knowledge is power.”
CJE Executive Director Meyer Denn said this is the most dynamic LearningFest yet because of the breadth of people represented and the wide variety of topics. He said the goal is for LearningFest to act as a jumping-off point to continue Jewish learning.
He added that Jewish study is timeless and infinite.
“We often associate Jewish living and culture with the old days and tradition. We need to realize that Jewish living and learning is at our fingertips on the Internet and accessible … for Jews of all ages,” Denn said. “If we can inspire someone, and LearningFest moves them to continue learning, that’s the greatest success we can hope for. There is something for everyone and this is really exciting for our community.”
For more information, contact Melissa Bernstein at 214-239-7134 or To register online and for a schedule of events, visit

Leave a Reply